Whether you’re setting up your presence at an exhibition stand, conference, or any other event, ensuring your team’s and attendees’ well-being should be your top priority. Here’s a comprehensive health and safety checklist to help you navigate this aspect effectively.

1. Exhibition Setup and Layout:

  • Adequate Space Allocation: Your exhibition layout should allow sufficient space between displays, furniture, and pathways to prevent overcrowding and tripping hazards. Think in the eyes of your attendees. What may be an unsuspected hazard?

  • Trip Hazards: Ensure your stand has a place to store team valuables and personal belongings; these items can create hazards if placed recklessly and can make your stand look unappealing to visitors.

  • Sturdy Structures: Ensure that your displays and signage are stable and secure to minimise the risk of accidents such as toppling over or collapsing. You also want to ensure that your experience on event days is smooth.

  • Fire Safety: Familiarise yourself with the event venue’s fire safety regulations and ensure your exhibition materials are fire-resistant or treated with fire-retardant coatings if necessary. Depending on your stand specifics, you may need to pay attention to fire safety, such as if you demonstrate cooking.

2. Electrical Safety

  • Certified Equipment: Use only certified electrical equipment and appliances that comply with safety standards to prevent electrical hazards such as shocks, short circuits, or fires.

  • Proper Wiring: Conceal wiring properly to prevent tripping hazards and potential damage. Use cable covers or ducts to organise and protect cables across the floor. If there is a tripping hazard, ensure there are warning signs, messaging, or highlights for attendees. 

  • Overload Prevention: Avoid overloading electrical outlets by distributing power consumption evenly across multiple outlets. Use power strips with built-in surge protection where necessary. This can be done by identifying the power requirements of each device and ensuring they are spread out across different outlets.

3. Hygiene and Sanitation

  • Hand Sanitisation: Make cleanliness a priority by providing hand sanitising stations within your exhibition. This not only promotes good hand hygiene among your team members and visitors but also shows your commitment to their health and safety.

  • Surface cleaning: Regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces such as countertops, product displays, and interactive screens to minimise the spread of germs and viruses.

  • Waste Management: No one likes to see a cluttered exhibition stand; first impressions count! Dispose of waste properly and maintain a clean and clutter-free environment. Provide designated bins for recyclables and general waste and ensure they are emptied regularly. If necessary, locate your closest bin near your stand.

4. Emergency Planning

  • First Aid Kit: Keep a well-stocked kit readily accessible within your stand in case of minor injuries or medical emergencies. It’s even better to have staff trained in first aid at your stand!

  • Emergency Contacts: Have a list of emergency contacts, including venue staff, event organisers, and local emergency services, prominently displayed in your exhibition. You must share this information with your team. 

5. Emergency and Contingency Planning

  • Emergencies: It’s essential to have a backup plan to ensure your exhibiting experience is stress-free. Familiarise your team with the event venue’s evacuation procedures and designated assembly points in case of fire or other emergencies.

  • Contingency: Consider the potential risks associated with your event, including technical issues, supplier problems, and venue-related risks.

  • Listing: List all possible risks and who may be impacted, such as attendees, your team, or the venue. Put extra urgency on the most severe and likely risks – create a plan to mitigate and manage each risk.

  • Priorities: List your risks in order of priority and move accordingly with your plan among your team. They can suggest risks that you may not deem obvious. Work closely with your suppliers and event organisers on event safety. Have your risk responses ready before the event. 

  • Review: To keep your plan current, it would be good to review it weekly a month before the event. Preparing for risks ensures your exhibition presence is carried out successfully. 

6. Staff Training and Awareness

  • Health and Safety Briefing: Conduct a comprehensive health and safety briefing for all exhibition staff each day of the event to ensure they are aware of potential hazards and proper safety protocols.

  • Customer Interaction: Train your team members to engage with visitors in a manner that prioritises safety, such as avoiding overcrowding within the exhibition, or conversing in a hazardous space

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Provide appropriate PPE such as face masks, gloves, and safety footwear for your team members, especially if they will be handling products or interacting closely with attendees.

By prioritising health and safety considerations and diligently following this checklist, exhibitors cannot only create a safe and welcoming environment for their team members and event attendees but also enhance the overall experience for everyone involved. For more direction on creating and completing health and safety assessments, visit the HSE website.

Remember, a proactive approach to health and safety is not just about avoiding accidents and liabilities, it’s about taking control of the situation and ensuring a successful event. It’s about empowering yourself and your team to handle any situation that may arise, and it’s about instilling confidence in your attendees that their well-being is your top priority.

The health and safety tips listed above are only a few, but they’ll help prompt your health and safety planning for your show. For more information on risk assessment and management, don’t hesitate to contact your event organiser supplier for the specifics of your show and stand. If you have questions or would like assistance, remember that we’re here for you at Whitespace XPO. We’re ready to provide the advice and support you need to ensure a safe and successful exhibition experience.